A Busman’s Holiday

Jeffrey here. Joey has been resting in a drawer.

Soon after Joey and I took a pause in San Jose on May 11, Nancy flew to San Francisco. I met her there.

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How I missed Nancy!

Clockwise from upper left: Alcatraz, Nancy on the Sausalito ferry, San Francisco at night, with our NJ friends Donald & Nancy, poignant street art.

Then, with Donald and Nancy, we embarked on a bicycling (!) vacation in Napa and Sonoma Counties. Pedaling there, and in San Jose and Santa Clara, brought me to this year’s final total: 1,356 miles (2,197 km). If you waited to donate to Human Rights First until all the miles are in, there you are!

I didn’t let Joey intrude on Nancy-&-me time. Still, along the way I talked about asylum applicants & their need for legal counsel. Meet a few of our new friends.

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Justin, ace bicycle mechanic, rejuvenated the Sprint 26, last serviced over 2500 miles ago. Chain replaced, desert grit removed, brakes overhauled, wheels aligned, derailleurs adjusted. Justin loves our “ride”—his other customers were fascinated & he found pedaling it a joy—& he loves the Rides.

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Wyal came from Jordan to the U.S. as a teenager. He stocks his grocery with wonderful California fruit, & treats from Lebanon, Morocco, Israel, & throughout the Middle East. He lauds the area’s ethnic diversity.

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Ellie immigrated from Germany as a child. Germany would not allow her to hold dual citizenship; she kept her German citizenship for family reasons. Now she plans to become a U.S. citizen. John worked for the San Francisco Examiner for 40 years. Ellie & John thank Human Rights First for standing up for the persecuted.

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Betty sells gourmet chocolates. She used to work in the legal field. She believes asylum applicants need & deserve lawyers, regardless of ability to pay.

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Vincent, a proud U.S. citizen, was a refugee from Vietnam. He told me that immigrants take American jobs. Openminded, he reconsidered when I pointed out that he & his friends created businesses that, through hiring & purchasing, make jobs for other Americans.

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Erik grew up in Mexico City. In California, he supervises a virtual reality demonstration for a tech company, but he prefers the real world. He has traveled extensively in Mexico, & wants to drive (as we have biked) Route 66. Erik & his family, on their own & through their church, help Central American refugees who make their way to Mexico.

A few scenes from Nancy’s and my 138 miles together in Wine Country: vineyards, seacoast, redwoods, Russian River, wild turkey.

Many vineyards, small and large, are bounded by rose bushes.

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The roses teach a lesson.

We learned that roses, now a vineyard tradition, originated as an early warning system. If delicate roses are affected by pests or disease, a farmer would know that the hardier grapes are at risk.

The hundreds of asylum applicants I have represented since 1983 are the roses of humanity, the best of the best. Plunged into our complex legal system, they are vulnerable, virtually defenseless.

Our country officially ignores asylum applicants’ need for counsel to prepare and present their cases. Their plight warns of a disease (delusions of justice? hardening of the heart?) that threatens the rest of our society.

Save the roses, save the grapes, save the wine.

Save the refugees, save ourselves, save our country.

The next post, the last of this Ride, will come from New York. See you there!

4 thoughts on “A Busman’s Holiday

  1. We’ve just landed too Jeffrey and are just now catching up on your journey for Human Rights! We so admire you! We had a wonderful trip – saw several great shows on the ship and more in Cardiff and Chichester. Will catch you up on our trip after we – and you get settled back at home!

  2. So great to see you with Nancy enjoying the beautiful California wine country! Though I don’t think a bike trip would be my first choice after all the miles you covered! Love to you both.

  3. You too represent the best of our generation, doing good, being together, making life better for everyone. Congrats on this year’s epic journey!

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